Dry, crumbling soap caused by palm oil?

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TheresaW

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Hello, I'm new to this forum. I've been making soap fairly regularly and have never had any sort of problem until this last batch, which turned out to be extremely dry, hard and crumbly. I followed the exact amount of lye that the calculator came up with (I use Bramble Berry's, but double-checked with a 2nd one after the soap turned out to be disaster), so I don't think there was an excess of lye. I read afterward that the entire container of palm oil should be warmed to a liquid before measuring for use, because the fatty acids in the oil separates when it is firm. I rarely use palm oil and did not warm it up before measuring. Could that be the reason for the dryness?
 

Lin19687

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Without the recipe, how you measure and what you did... no one can help you .
but based on "extremely dry, hard and crumbly " then you goofed on measuring I would say

Please start to read posts in the Beginners forum to find your answer. Or do a google search for the question as it will usually come back to this website
 

Zany_in_CO

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I read afterward that the entire container of palm oil should be warmed to a liquid before measuring for use, because the fatty acids in the oil separates when it is firm. I rarely use palm oil and did not warm it up before measuring. Could that be the reason for the dryness?
I'm sorry that happened to you. :(
Yes. I warm it up and divide it into smaller containers for later use.
Yes. It could be the reason for the dryness. But don't judge the soap until it's fully cured. It may be just fine.

Here's a thread on the subject:

HANDLING BULK PALM OIL
 

TheresaW

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Without the recipe, how you measure and what you did... no one can help you .
but based on "extremely dry, hard and crumbly " then you goofed on measuring I would say

Please start to read posts in the Beginners forum to find your answer. Or do a google search for the question as it will usually come back to this website
Thank you. I do not consider myself to be a beginner, and I have googled and googled this. The palm oil seemed to be the reason, so I thought someone here might have had a similar experience.
 

Lin19687

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My recipes have a very large portion of palm and PKO......... it's not dry/hard/crumbly.
No you don't need to liquefy any oils before measure........how are you measuring, cups/pounds?
But again, without knowing recipe/how you made it , it's almost impossible to help.
I'm not really trying to be snotty here. If you have read other posts you would see this is stated over and over.
 

ResolvableOwl

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Haven't had crumbliness issues with palm oil (but I am also someone who is very obedient 🤭 and when they say I should better melt up the palm oil, I do so). Rather the opposite – soap with palm as the only hard fat never truly hardening up etc. I've had crumbliness before, but I'd search first for additives like sodium lactate or vinegar, or conditions like too cool soaping, under-/over-SBing, misbehaving EO/FO/colourants etc.

Without further insight in your recipe/process, it is impossible to debug from the distance.
 

TheresaW

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Here's the recipe I used. The method was cold process:
Olive oil 500 grams
coconut oil 250 grams
palm oil 250 grams
rice bran oil 123 grams
castor oil 80 grams
raw shea butter 50 grams
kokum butter 25 g

Water and aloe juice -- 384 grams (about one fourth aloe juice)
Lye 172 grams

Superfat 8%

I soaped at about 108 degrees -- about 7 degrees cooler than my usual. It came to trace super fast, faster than any batch I've ever made. I added 8 grams of DL panthenol dissolved in a tiny bit of water at trace and then Cool Citrus Basil fragrance oil (about 2 ounces) from Crafter's Choice.

This was supposed to be used as a shampoo bar.

Thank you all for your input.
 
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TheresaW

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Haven't had crumbliness issues with palm oil (but I am also someone who is very obedient 🤭 and when they say I should better melt up the palm oil, I do so). Rather the opposite – soap with palm as the only hard fat never truly hardening up etc. I've had crumbliness before, but I'd search first for additives like sodium lactate or vinegar, or conditions like too cool soaping, under-/over-SBing, misbehaving EO/FO/colourants etc.

Without further insight in your recipe/process, it is impossible to debug from the distance.
Thank you. It never occurred to me that I would need to melt the whole 7 lb container of palm oil before using -- I read that after I made the soap! This was only my second time using palm oil. The first batch contained less than this one.
 

AliOop

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Hi @TheresaW, your recipe looks fine to me. If you inadvertently used a portion from your palm container that was mostly stearic acid which had separated from the rest, that would definitely equal a faster trace and potentially the crumbling. The fast hardening would also require an earlier unmolding and cutting to avoid breakage.

I'm also wondering if you used any sodium lactate or salt? Those can both result in dry, crumbly bars if overused.
 

lenarenee

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Hello, I'm new to this forum. I've been making soap fairly regularly and have never had any sort of problem until this last batch, which turned out to be extremely dry, hard and crumbly. I followed the exact amount of lye that the calculator came up with (I use Bramble Berry's, but double-checked with a 2nd one after the soap turned out to be disaster), so I don't think there was an excess of lye. I read afterward that the entire container of palm oil should be warmed to a liquid before measuring for use, because the fatty acids in the oil separates when it is firm. I rarely use palm oil and did not warm it up before measuring. Could that be the reason for the dryness?

Using unstirred non-hydrogenated palm oil was discussed not that long ago, and a couple of long time soapers said they didn't stir their palm and never had issues. However, I wouldn't totally rule it out as a possibility. They may not have had palm that had significantly separated, or used high amounts where the difference in fatty acids would have significant affects on the lye amount. (example; I have palm kernel oil that has a stark white layer on the bottom of the package, and rest is quite yellow. That shows quite a bit of separation and I'll definitely melt and stir that in)

Do you have a picture of the soap? Is it possible that you waited too long to cut? Was there any titanium dioxide in the batch?
 

ResolvableOwl

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I am regularly using palm stearin (the “bad stuff” that crystallises out of palm oil and makes everyone recommend melting it all up). It is prone to false trace by a slightly annoying degree (starts clouding within minutes when the melted oils cool down below 38°C), but I never had crumbliness that wasn't due to other ingredients.
 

ravenscents

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I’ve read that dry and crumbling is caused from not going past emulation. I’ve had dry and crumbling portions of the same batter. I thought it was the TD, but after reading the article about getting to emulation and not trace.
the example would be, I split my bather at emulation. Worked with one portion and went back to the second portion and thought it’s already getting thick, I don’t have to mix anymore, I just poured. I don’t know if it’s try, but it’s a thought.
 

ResolvableOwl

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emulation
Emulsion, I guess? Emulation is something utterly different.

But interesting food for thought. For sure things can get awkward when emulsion is unstable, and the difference between stable and unstable emulsion is hard to tell more often than not. I can well imagine (don't ask why 🤫) that being lazy with SBing causes results to be unreliable; a crumbly texture might well be the result (especially at the bottom of the loaf), just as separation, oil drops at the top, lye pockets and soda ash at unexpected places… all that possibly aggravated by false trace, due to separated palm oil o_O
 

earlene

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Hello, I'm new to this forum. I've been making soap fairly regularly and have never had any sort of problem until this last batch, which turned out to be extremely dry, hard and crumbly. I followed the exact amount of lye that the calculator came up with (I use Bramble Berry's, but double-checked with a 2nd one after the soap turned out to be disaster), so I don't think there was an excess of lye. I read afterward that the entire container of palm oil should be warmed to a liquid before measuring for use, because the fatty acids in the oil separates when it is firm. I rarely use palm oil and did not warm it up before measuring. Could that be the reason for the dryness?
Here is a video on how & why to do it, including what the unmixed palm looks like:

Melting and Blending 5 gallons of Palm Oil for soap making -- how I divide the bucket


So when you take only a portion of the separated fatty acids, the amount of lye required would not necessarily be the same as what is required for the homogenized palm oil, meaning you may have lye heavy soap on your hands, and that CAN contribute to a crumbly soap, but there are also other reasons for crumbly soap.

I do suggest you do a ZAP test on this soap to find out if it is safe to use: How To Properly/Safely Conduct The Zap/Tongue Test

No you don't need to liquefy any oils before measure........
Regarding bulk solid palm oi that is not hydrogenated by the manufacturer:
Here is one of many vendors products that states it must be pre-mixed (which requires melting) prior to measuring:

See Directions & Ingredients tab:
Directions:
Measure and add to formula as directed.
PRODUCT CAN SEPARATE WHEN COOLING AFTER PACKAGING. ENTIRE BUCKET SHOULD BE MIXED WELL BEFORE EACH USE.

To avoid this, you can purchase the No-Stir palm oil or hydrogenated palm oil or palm shortening.

As far as other oils that need to be softened or pre-melted prior to weighing, there are others that are also quite difficult to weigh out without first breaking apart into smaller chunks (Cocoa Butter, for example) or otherwise soften, which may require melting, particularly in the wintertime or in the case of refrigeration are any of the hard oils that remain solid at room temperature, but I have not read anywhere that any of the others require stirring enough to get the fatty acids back into a sort of cohesive homogenized mixture prior to weighing out the portion needed.

Also, depending on the packaging, some hard oils that don't need to be pre-stirred, still need to be melted to get them out of the container (for example hard oils that come in narrow neck bottles.)
 
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ResolvableOwl

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To avoid this, you can purchase the No-Stir palm oil or hydrogenated palm oil or palm shortening.
or melt the whole bucket up and distribute it into smaller, more handy portions of typical usage size. Even if you don't use up one at a time, stirring and/or re-melting is much easier in small containers.

Also a good opportunity to add a drop of ROE.
 

ravenscents

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Emulsion, I guess? Emulation is something utterly different.

But interesting food for thought. For sure things can get awkward when emulsion is unstable, and the difference between stable and unstable emulsion is hard to tell more often than not. I can well imagine (don't ask why 🤫) that being lazy with SBing causes results to be unreliable; a crumbly texture might well be the result (especially at the bottom of the loaf), just as separation, oil drops at the top, lye pockets and soda ash at unexpected places… all that possibly aggravated by false trace, due to separated palm oil o_O
Lol, still in bed waking up and spellcheck. Bad combination. Thanks for the catch
 

LynetteO

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The palm oil seemed to be the reason, so I thought someone here might have had a similar experience.
I too had a crumbly bar recently & thought it was too much citric acid but after posting recipe it seems that many fellow soapers use CA much higher % than my usage @ 1% of oils. It’s my only recipe with palm that I’ve made this year. {44% palm} For me it (cause of crumbly) was due to high palm %, waiting too long to cut & using a large blade knife. I had made exact recipe a week prior (without CA) but cut the loaf 4 hours sooner than 2nd batch & had no issues. Top pic 2nd batch, crumbled at bottom. Bottom pic 1st batch with no crumbling bottoms.
3E7F5E83-9BF0-47EE-B96F-F370B9E0C647.jpeg092D97F5-2BFA-46A1-9810-DDFA03196D0C.jpeg
 
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Lin19687

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Regarding bulk solid palm oi that is not hydrogenated by the manufacturer:
Yes, I do get that, but, again, without knowing where it came from, how big the bottle is.... in general you don't need to liquefy oils before measuring which is what I was getting at. I don't melt my 50# bucket before measuring and I don't think it says it's no stir or To stir palm.... but don't 100% quote me on that since I've not soaped since 2019 due to pandemic and a full inventory ;)
 
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